Man avoids jail for uploading explicit video to Facebook

Daniel Whitehead
Daniel Whitehead

A MAN has narrowly avoided jail after uploading and sharing an explicit video he filmed in Wigan town centre which went viral on Facebook.

Daniel Whitehead of Spindle Hillock, Ashton, pleaded guilty to two charges of sending the offensive footage via social media.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard that in the early hours of July 25 Whitehead was with friends in The Hub nightclub on King Street in the town centre.

At around 4.30am he saw his friend talking to an unknown drunk female.

Prosecuting, Katie Beattie explained that the defendant had spoken to the friend and the girl earlier in the night as they were outside smoking.

When the pair had come back in the club the friend had began kissing the girl passionately and Whitehead decided to video it on his phone.

Ms Beattie said the friend then started pulling her clothing up and performed a “series of humiliating and sexual acts” with the victim, the court heard.

All the while Whitehead continued to film the “disgusting” incident.

Once home, the defendant shared the footage onto his Facebook account alongside a crude caption.

Ms Beattie then told the court that his co-accused allegedly saw the video and asked Whitehead to send it to him.

The friend, who has also been charged with the same offence but did not attend the hearing, then allegedly uploaded this onto his own Facebook account, where he has more than 4,500 friends,

This was then shared more than 25,000 times in just one hour.

Upon seeing the video, the horrified female immediately reported it to Facebook and it was subsequently taken down.

However, the court was told that the friend edited the footage and re-posted it.

Ms Beattie said the victim had no recollection of the events.

She added: “She is disgusted, sick and embarrassed.”

Defending, Martin Jones said he had accepted the allegations and accepted what he had done was wrong.

He continued: “He knows he would have caused the girl shame and distress and he pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity.”

Mr Jones added: “In the cold-light of day my client has realised the enormity of the situation he has placed himself in and is mortified.”

The 23-year-old was given a 12 month suspended sentence and ordered to pay £300 compensation to the victim, £150 charges, £85 costs and £80 victim surcharge.

Sentencing him, JP Melvin Higson said he hopes this acts as a deterrent to other social media users.